Harry Potter fans, this Butterbeer Cake is for you! Butterscotch cake, cream soda, and marshmallow all in one spellbinding dessert. The perfect Harry Potter Cake!
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do a Harry Potter themed recipe.
I am a huge fan of the books and movies, so the fact that I have a Game of Thrones themed cake and no Harry Potter cake is shameful, really. Alas, that all changes today with this Butterbeer Cake!
Butterbeer is a delicious combination of cream soda, butterscotch, and marshmallow. Except it doesn’t really taste like butterscotch or cream soda, just of some amazing blend of flavors and heavenly marshmallow creme topping. I didn’t even care that it was carbonated (which I normally don’t like).
I’m going to go ahead and blame the delay on this recipe on the fact that I actually didn’t try Butterbeer until very recently. In fact, I didn’t think I’d like it.
I don’t like butterscotch, or cream soda, or pop, so I was expecting to hate it through and through for its sickly sweetness. I was only going to try it so I could say I had.
My first introduction to Butterbeer was over the summer while we were in London. I dragged Ryan, his dad, and his stepmom (some more willingly than others) to the Warner Brothers Studios to do the Harry Potter tour.
Ryan and I bought one Butterbeer to share because I swore I would only have one sip of it. Souvenir glass? Pshh, why would I want one??
Needless to say, I finished half the drink before Ryan could even have a sip of it. SO. GOOD.
Contrary to the name, there is actually no alcohol in Butterbeer at all.
The fizzy beverage is all-ages friendly. However, if you’re looking to incorporate a bit of booziness into this Harry Potter Cake, you can always soak the layers in a Butterscotch schnapps simple syrup!
You can get butterbeer in the regular, soda pop version, or frozen (like a slush), or hot!
As much as I loved the original pop-like version of Butterbeer, I didn’t know there were actually superior versions of this.
Fast forward a few months and we’re in Orlando celebrating my birthday, which includes numerous days at the Disney parks and, of course, Universal to check out the Harry Potter lands, among other things. My friend Eva insisted that I HAD to try the frozen Butterbeer, and that it was better than the original.
Lunch on our first day was at the Leaky Cauldron (for real!!) and that’s where we ordered our frozen Butterbeer.
We had planned to get an original Butterbeer too, but the girl taking our order asked if we wanted to try the warm Butterbeer. She said it was her favorite and they only have it available during the colder months. We did not have high hopes for it but ordered it anyhow.
Both the frozen (like a slush) and the warm were leaps and bounds better than the original. How do you improve on something that’s already so good, right??
I think the warm one was my favorite, actually. Perfectly comforting and delicious. Needless to say, I had Butterbeer Cake running through my mind before we even left the parks.
How to Make this Butterbeer Cake
This butterscotch cake gave me a little bit of trouble in terms of nailing down the perfect texture, flavor, and color.
Don’t use pink cream soda unless you want your cake to be pink!
The first batch was probably the best bake overall, except I could only find hot pink cream soda, so that’s what I used. Unfortunately, this made the layers an ombre kinda pink when I cut into them. The layers also shrank quite a bit post-baking, so I probably overbaked it.
For the second attempt at this Butterbeer Cake, I managed to find clear cream soda, but that same store didn’t have the exact brand of pudding that I used the first time, so I tried the store brand.
The cake baked up with a whole lot of tunneling through it — either due to the brand of pudding I used or due to improper mixing techniques. Likely the latter. Sigh.
Attempt #3 used Jell-O instant pudding, clear cream soda, and proper mixing. Success! The first two batches were happily eaten anyway — naked cake layers and all — and they were delicious.
This Butterbeer Cake, like the drinks, is fairly sweet — but it’s intended to be. I mean, you’re combining cream soda, butterscotch, and marshmallow… it’s kinda hard to tone that down (and why would you want to?).
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, or have one in your life, you’re going to want to add this Harry Potter Cake to your baking list!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I convert this recipe?
- The recipe as-is will also work in two 8″ pans. For three 8″ pans, 1.5x the recipe. Baking time may need to be adjusted.
- To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time — start checking at 15mins or so. The recipe will make 18-24 cupcakes depending on size.
- For other conversions go here.
Can I make it in advance?
- The cooled cake layers can be baked ahead of time, double wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen for up to 3 months. Take out 2-3 hours before assembly.
- The frosting can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for 1 week for frozen for 3 months. Bring to room temp and rewhip before using.
- The finished cake (whole or sliced, stored airtight) can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Can I get the measurements by weight/grams?
- There is a Metric option in the recipe card. If you click it it will convert everything to grams.
- This conversion is done automatically and I cannot guarantee the accuracy but many readers have had success using the metric option on my recipes.
Tips for this Butterbeer Harry Potter Cake
- The color of your cream soda will affect the color of your cake. Try to find clear or brown cream soda.
- I tried the recipe for this butterscotch cake with a couple of different instant pudding mixes and found the Jell-O one to yield best results. Other brands will work okay, though. I did not use fat-free.
- I used clear vanilla extract as it has a sweeter, cream-sodaish flavor, but you can use regular vanilla instead.
- The marshmallow frosting is a bit softer than a typical American buttercream due to the fluff that’s added. If you like, you can use Homemade Marshmallow Fluff instead.
- Adding butterscotch sauce between the layers is a delicious flavor burst, but it will make your cake more susceptible to sliding around during assembly. You can place 3-4 bamboo skewers into the top of the cake as support. You’ll need to trim the skewers to the proper height of the cake.
- I used store-bought butterscotch sauce due to laziness, but you could easily make your own. Note that I had to boil the store-bought one for 5mins to reduce it, as it was a bit thin.
- To help ensure cakes come out of the pans cleanly I use homemade cake release or spray my cake pans with Pam for Baking and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Learn how to keep your cakes moist using Simple Syrup.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, check out my How to Bake Flat Cake Layers post!
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsps baking powder
- 3.5 oz butterscotch instant pudding mix one package
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups cream soda clear
- 1 tsp clear vanilla extract *
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 14 oz marshmallow fluff store bought or homemade
- 1 tsp clear vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour three 6″ cake rounds and line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, pudding mix, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx 3mins).
- Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and cream soda, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of cream soda). Fully incorporating after each addition.
- Bake for about 40mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
- Beat butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Beat for 3 mins.
- Add marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy (2-3mins).
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with 2/3 cup of frosting and spread evenly. Top with 1-2 Tbsp butterscotch sauce (optional), swirl into frosting. Repeat with remaining layers and apply a thin coat of frosting all over the cake. Chill for 20mins. ***
- Use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Chill for 20mins.
- Using a teaspoon, drizzle butterscotch sauce along the top edges of the chilled cake, allowing some to drip down. Pipe dollops on the top using an Ateco 867 or Wilton 6B tip. Fill in the top of the cake with more butterscotch sauce and spread evenly. Sprinkle with gold sanding sugar if desired.
Stand mixers are crazy expensive! Tips for us regular folk? Are hand-held beaters ok?
Hi Anne! For this particular recipe a hand mixer will work just fine.
I really like all of your cake recipes that I’ve tried so far. I want to do the butter beer cake again, but, loving cream, soda opened one last night to have a couple of ounces of it. I imagine it’s flat this morning, will it still work for the cake? I have no idea how the Fizz of the soda affects the cake and its outcome.
Hi Shelly! Flat soda should still work just fine.
Lexy Ritz says
No matter what I do I can’t seem to get the frosting thick enough to frost a cake :(. It’s too soft and drippy. Any recommendations? I’m a seasoned baker and followed the instructions exactly. I measured with a baking scale.
Hi Lexy! This is a softer frosting for sure due to the marshmallow fluff. It should not be drippy though, have you tried chilling it first? You can add more powdered sugar to thicken it up but that would add to the sweetness of an already sweet frosting. If you happen to have some meringue powder you can try adding a Tbsp or two to act as a thickener.
I followed all instructions for the cake part and it was very thick and dense with no butterscotch flavor. Probably would not use this again. Sorry!
Hi Daisy! My cakes tend to be more on the dense side rather than light and fluffy, but it shouldn’t be unpleasantly dense. Overly dense cakes can be from overmixing the cake batter once the flour is added (it develops too much gluten) or not using room temperature ingredients so the cake batter doesn’t emulsify properly.
Is one recipe of your homemade marshmallow fluff enough to make the 14 ounces needed for the icing?
Hi Mollie! One recipe of that will make more than enough.
What if I add butterscotch chips in the batter will it taste good ?
Hi Arthu! Yes, if you like you can add them, just toss them in flour first and fold them in at the end.
I’m in the process of making this cake for my son’s 5th birthday party. I have to make a few of these as I’m feeding 60 people.
I tried my first batch today, the party is in 4 days. I used 2 x 8” cake pans. Unfortunately, the cakes did not rise at all! Any ideas why? Any tips would be much appreciated. Thank you! ☺️xx
Hi Saumya! The cakes should bake up to be about 1.5-2″ tall in two 8″ cake pans. If they are smaller than that I would check to make sure your baking powder is fresh as it can lose effectiveness over time.
Thank you for getting back to me. The baking powder is indeed fresh. I’m going try and new batch today and see. Perhaps I’ll get second time lucky! 🙂
I cannot find instant butterscotch pudding. Will the cook and serve work?
Hi Liz! I haven’t tried it myself but you can give it a go. I don’t think it will be a disaster 🙂
I made this cake for my daugther’s 11th birthday. One of the attendees loved it so much, she has requested it as her wedding cake!
Since this cake is heavy and so dense, do you have any suggestions for many layers? There are 150 people RSVP’d, so appx how many batches would you recommend? any advice is greatly appreciated!
Hi Heather! I am so glad she loved it and wants it for her wedding! I have never made wedding cakes or cakes for a large number of people so I have no idea how much you’d need and I wouldn’t want to steer you wrong. Maybe this will help? https://chelsweets.com/cake-portion-guide/
This sounds amazing and I’d like to try it, though my daughter wants her cake covered in fondant. Is there any reason that wouldn’t work with this cake? Thanks!
Hi Maya! It should work fine covered in fondant. Let me know how she likes it 🙂
Great thank you!
In the directions it says “cream the sugars”…..are the 2 kinds?? only one is posted
Hi Pam! It’s a typo in the instructions. Thanks for catching that!
Hi there! Which attachment should I use for the buttercream?
Hi Trish! I use the paddle.
Ceara Curry says
How long will the frosting keep after making ?
Hi Ceara! The frosting will be fine at room temperature for a couple days, refrigerate for a week or two or frozen for 3 months.
Do not trust the metric conversion. I’ve tried this 2 times now making larger batches for my cake shop both times it soufflés up nice whilst cooking but when cooled it deflates to an unusable sponge. Having to make Into cakepops. Tastes lovely but the sponge itself is unusable.
Hi Joely! I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with this one! That sounds strange and should not be happening. The metric amounts should be correct. Are you using baking soda instead of baking powder by chance? Or are you at high elevation? Or perhaps it’s the brand of pudding?
Joely arlow says
Thanks for the reply. Yes using the correct raising agents. Made the recipe again using the cup measuring method and it worked perfectly. So must be the conversion.
I’m in the uk. I’m using our butterscotch pudding mix. Which is called angel delight. Works great in cups.
Thanks for the recipe x
Hi Joely! So glad the cup measurements worked. Thanks for your tips!
I’m in the UK, has anyone tried a substitute for the Jell-O pudding? Would butterscotch Angel Delight work ok?
I am a Custom Cake shop owner, While I personally loved this cake, my customer said it did not taste like Butter Beer at all, she is adamant it tasted more like vanilla cake. I had extra batter and made cupcakes too. I had my neighbor and her son’s try it (They have had authentic Disney Land’s Butter Beer) and they said it tasted almost identical to theirs. I guess some peoples taste buds are different. I very much tasted the Butterscotch in the cake. I will make it again… Just not for her 😁
Hi Cindi! Haha! I am so glad you and your neighbors loved it 🙂
What if I need to make this cake and decorate the day before a party? How would I best store it?
Hi Amy! I would refrigerate and then take it out 2-3 hours before serving so it can come to room temperature.
It’s so beautiful! My daughter’s first birthday is Harry Potter themed and this is the perfect cake for the centerpiece! I colored the layers in the house colors and added Harry Potter sprinkles. Couldn’t find any butterscotch sauce so I made a butterscotch ganache and it worked perfectly! Thanks for sharing this with us!
Hi Amanda! Yay! I’m so happy you loved it. Thanks so much for the feedback 🙂